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Apple joins coalition lobbying for electronic privacy rights

post #1 of 15
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Apple has joined the Digital Due Process coalition, a group that is advocating for reforms to surveillance laws in the U.S. that would secure individuals' rights to privacy on modern Internet technologies.

Civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation on Thursday awarded Apple a "gold star" in recognition of its efforts to "fight for user privacy in Congress" by joining the group. Cloud-based storage provider Dropbox also received a star for joining the coalition.

The aim of the Digital Due Process group is to "simplify, clarify, and unify the ECPA [Electronic Communications Privacy Act] standards, providing stronger privacy protections for communications and associated data in response to changes in technology and new services and usage patterns, while preserving the legal tools necessary for government agencies to enforce the laws, respond to emergency circumstances and protect the public."

The ECPA was enacted in 1986 in an effort to establish restrictions for law enforcement with respect to electronic communications. According to the coalition, the law has not undergone a "significant revision" in its 25 years of existence. The group argues that today's digital communication services, which have undergone significant technological advances since 1986, are not being adequately protected by the ECPA.

Digital Due Process specifically highlights email, mobile location, cloud computing and social networking as new technologies that need to be included in the law. The group also argues that the ECPA in its current form suffers from conflicting standards and illogical distinctions, unclear standards, judicial criticisms and constitutional uncertainty.



Other prominent members of the coalition include Amazon, AT&T, Google, Intel and Microsoft.

Apple may have a special interest in protecting user privacy for mobile location. Earlier this year, security researchers claimed to have discovered that Apple was tracking users' locations in its iOS 4 mobile operating system. The iPhone maker responded to the controversy by denying that it had tracked users and asserting that it had instead maintained a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell phone towers.

In spite of its claims, Apple has been the target of several law suits and government investigations as a result. The South Korean Communications Commission fined Apple $2,830 in August, while a group of 27,000 residents of the country have filed a class-action lawsuit seeking $26 million in damages for privacy violations.

The Cupertino, Calif., company may also be interested in pushing for reforms that would protect cloud computing users' privacy rights as it readies the launch of its iCloud service this fall. Given that Apple is planning on widespread adoption of its new cloud computing initiative, the company is assumedly looking to avoid any privacy-related controversies that could spook users.

Earlier this year, Apple announced that it will deprecate application access to "uniqueIdentifier," also known as UDID. The company is facing lawsuits over the UDID issue, with users complaining that their privacy has been violated.

During a Senate hearing in May, Apple Vice President of Software Technology Bud Tribble highlighted the company's commitment to customer privacy. "Apple is strongly committed to giving our customers clear and transparent notice, choice and control over their information, and we believe our products do so in a simple and elegant way," he said.
post #2 of 15
Maybe these companies mean well, but I'm sure someone is paying someone to keep loopholes open. Not buying Google's part of it. Companies will always want to have an eye on users and data. And the more cash they have the more data they can get.
post #3 of 15
Im glad Apple et al are taking a stand. Im not interested in managing a personal information economy. I cant be the only person to think its unfair when software developers to demand personal information as payment when it is clearly not necessary to deliver the service.

Sure you can exercise your right not to sign up to such a service, but inevitably enough sheeple will sign up, making the business model viable and creating a barrier to other companies from entering the market and offering a more ethical service.
post #4 of 15
Apple obviously has an interest in this: its chief rival's business is invading others' privacy. But it's still encouraging.
I am the Great Bug

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I am the Great Bug

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post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Other prominent members of the coalition include Amazon, AT&T, Google, Intel and Microsoft.

It's great that Google joined the coalition. They need to change their attitude though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Schmidt

The best thing that would happen is for Facebook to open up its data. Failing that, there are other ways to get that information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Schmidt

We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllThingD

Defending Google’s Street View service on CNN’s “Parker Spitzer” program in October, Schmidt said that people who don’t like Street View cars taking pictures of their homes and businesses “can just move” afterward to protect their privacy. Ironically, Schmidt said this on the very day that Google conceded that those cars did collect more than just fragments of personal payload data.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Schmidt

There is what I call the creepy line. The Google policy on a lot of things is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.
post #6 of 15
I don't think this is about what private companies are allowed to do, it's about what law enforcement is allowed to do.
post #7 of 15
Geez, another article about Apple, supposedly positive, that takes a 180 to Google comments instead.

They both obviously are pushing for the same things in this case. Big deal, sometimes they agree.
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #8 of 15
I was impressed until I saw the other members and realized the whole thing was a farce.
post #9 of 15
The ECPA is in a dire need of a reform. It will be best if all companies that store user information suggest a common solution to the outdated regulations. Apple must take part in creating this solution.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Other prominent members of the coalition include Amazon, AT&T, Google, Intel and Microsoft.

I have to laugh about Google joining the coalition. I guess they're opposed to the government getting your personal data. Only GOOGLE has the right to your personal data and they resent the government getting involved.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I have to laugh about Google joining the coalition. I guess they're opposed to the government getting your personal data. Only GOOGLE has the right to your personal data and they resent the government getting involved.

Yes, I'm sure Apple doesn't understand what they're supporting, and that they don't realize they agree with Google on this. Otherwise why would they be in the same group supporting the same cause?

Anyway, if anyone is at all curious who the Digital Due Process coalition is, what they believe and what the goals are, here's the link.

http://digitaldueprocess.org/index.c...02000C296BA163

And the current list of members is here:
http://digitaldueprocess.org/index.c...55000C296BA163

And what Forbes had to say about Apple and a few others back in April. It should be noted that Apple joined the Digital Due Process group about three months ago, so AI's article isn't breaking news.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygree...y-report-card/
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Yes, I'm sure Apple doesn't understand what they're supporting,

What makes you sure of that?
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

What makes you sure of that?

Apology. I forgot to add the sarcasm tag.
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #14 of 15
Good to see Apple, a big player, is supporting this movement. Privacy and security are so huge today that everyone needs to have their rights. Protect our rights! I'm glad Apple is taking a part in this.

AppleGrad.com - Video training for Mac, iPhone, iPad, Final Cut Pro, Aperture, iLife, iWork, Logic Pro, and more

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AppleGrad.com - Video training for Mac, iPhone, iPad, Final Cut Pro, Aperture, iLife, iWork, Logic Pro, and more

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post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I have to laugh about Google joining the coalition. I guess they're opposed to the government getting your personal data. Only GOOGLE has the right to your personal data and they resent the government getting involved.

And you really thing Apple has NO information on your iTunes buying habits? Ever use Apple's "Genius" Feature? How do you think they created it?

Genius playlists are one of the few things I miss about my iPod, and it helped me discover a TON of cool music (the Genius suggestions) in iTunes when I still used the platform to buy music.

There is NOTHING wrong with a company using data you VOLUNTARILY give them in ways that improve your overall experience (and ways they clearly outline in their TOS)

That's not what Digital Due Process is about. What Google, Apple, and other companies are trying to do is grant YOUR data the same immunity online as it would be in a "traditional" format. This means that if the government wanted to search your itunes purchases or your search history, they need a warrant from a judge requesting SPECIFIC information and not just a "GEIF ME UR DATAZ" command.

This is a GOOD thing. I'm very happy Apple joined the group.
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